Wednesday, October 31, 2012

While Watching The Racheal Maddow Show

Rachel Maddow on her MSNBC show put out a friendly reminder that the American Red Cross does not like people sending them well intentioned canned goods etc. for disaster relief. "It only creates an extra job for the Red Cross who already have a logistical nightmare on their hands."

The American Red Cross webpage:

The American Red Cross does not accept or solicit individual donations such as food and used clothing, which must be sorted which impedes the valuable resources of money, time and personnel that are needed for other aspects of our relief operation.

[Instead] financial contributions allow the Red Cross to purchase what is needed for the specific disaster relief operation. Monetary donations also enable the Red Cross to purchase relief supplies close to the disaster site which avoids delays and transportation costs .... and also stimulates the weakened local economy.

Obviously, there are varying degrees to how the advisory applies or exceptions, for example, I don't think the Red Cross would mind you dropping off canned goods in person at the disaster zone's Red Cross shelter to keep the onsite kitchen stocked. Otherwise, as the Red Cross website said, you usually end up doing more harm than good. If unsolicited canned goods is a headache for the Red Cross, showing up in person as an uninvited superhero at the disaster zone to aid in the clean-up puts it's own strain on the relief efforts, since volunteers need to be housed, fed, take showers, in an area that is already low on these facilities. On the topic of canned goods, personally, I feel it's unnecessary to give the expensive stuff even if you can afford to part with it. That applies as well to local food drives because nobody expects it and the odds are unscrupulous volunteers will take the expensive canned goods home. That might sound cynical but unless you implanted an RFID tracking micro chip in the donated item I'd place my bets on the side of human instinct.

Strategically, Mitt Romney put his presidential campaign on hold to show his respects. I say strategically because when Obama puts his campaign on hold, but the media zooms in and focuses on Obama, what else is Romney to do except what Romney does best and that's connecting with the American people. I forget but it was either the host of the MSNBC show before or following Racheal Maddow noted that New Jersey will take the next decade to recover. Meanwhile, Romney didn't forsake absolutely all media coverage. His Ohio rally was altered to a disaster rally where of all things the republican organizers asked the audience to bring in canned goods and disaster relief supplies just the opposite of what the Red Cross said they needed in these types of situation. It's reminiscent of Romney's visit to the London Olympics when and where he took the occasion to overcook things too.

The plan was for supporters to bring in hurricane relief supplies to the event and then [hand the] bags of canned goods, packages of diapers, and cases of water bottles to Romney .... To complete the photo op, Romney would .... carry the goods out of the gymnasium and into the Penske rental truck parked outside.

The Making Of Romney's Storm Relief Event
McKay Coppin | BuzzFeed

But there was another problem: what if supporters showed up without materials to drop off? Team Romney prepared for that, too -- the night before the "relief event," campaign aides went to a local Wal Mart and spent $5,000 on "granola bars, canned food, and diapers," which could then be displayed for cameras.

'Just grab something'
Steve Benen | MSNBC


blournalist said...

You know, these photos where high powered politicians are seen working at a food shelf or similar... they're just a little ridiculous.

I don't need someone as important as the President to spend his time handing out cans. His time is better spent using his power and influence to make sure they never run out of cans. Let someone ELSE hand them out.

You don't hire Stephen Hawking to teach grade school.

RONW said...

blournalist- foist of all, hope the storm didn't flood your neck of the woods. I've been *thinking* of getting an onboard camera for me bike, don't know if you've ever had one for your bike. Liquid Image® and size .... here. YouTube comparison vs. GoPro here.

blournalist said...

Storm didn't touch us, believe it or not.

Never heard of the Liquid Image. Looks awful good to me, and I think that smaller and different shape is easier to mount.

Buy two!

RONW said...

blournalist- Yea, 2! It probably be on sale later this year.

Kay said...

I guess it makes a better photo op to have supplies brought or bought in despite what the Red Cross said than setting up a cash fund.

RONW said...

Kay- if this isn't the height of disingenuous-ness, then I don't know what is.